County Players in Furness

Published: 2021
Pages: 12
Author: Tebay, Martin
Publisher: Red Rose Books
Rating: 3.5 stars

Six months ago the first of Martin Tebay’s Lancashire CCC postcard monographs appeared, which I reviewed here. This is the second and, like its predecessor, it involves a mystery and a bit of detective work and, once that is done, an interesting story for those of us with an interest in Lancashire cricket, or indeed any cricket.

In fact the story here is not dissimilar to that told by the first booklet in the series. It begins with the acquisition of a postcard showing a Lancashire team, but with a couple of personnel even more unusual and famous than Morice Bird, the ‘cuckoo in the nest’ last time.

The first of the surprise packages this time is Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji, the Indian prince whose batting for England and Sussex was touched by greatness, but whose career was sadly cut short by ill health.

The other ‘imposter’ is another England player, albeit one not quite so prodigiously talented as Duleep, Errol Holmes. An aggressive batsman and captain of Surrey and, in his youth, a far from negligible pace bowler, Holmes was an entertainer.

So why did this pair turn out for Lancashire in September 1925? The occasion was a match to mark the opening of a new pavilion at the ground of Dalton Cricket Club, now in Cumbria but back in the twenties one of Lancashire’s northern outposts.

Martin uses the booklet to tell the story of how he managed to identify the match from the postcard (pictured on the front cover) and from there goes on to introduce the combatants and, using contemporary press reports, reconstruct an interesting game of cricket which, perhaps unsurprisingly, concluded with Duleep and Holmes posting an unbroken partnership of 125 in less than an hour. We can be sure that all who attended saw an excellent day’s cricket.

There are a number of illustrations in this very nicely produced booklet and, to make life a little easier for prospective purchasers, there are a few more copies of this one than the last, fifty rather than thirty. I still don’t think those copies will hang around for long though, and early ordering is advised. Again the booklet is £6.99 including UK postage.

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